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MisterSwig

Immigration restrictions

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9 hours ago, DonAthos said:

So my position with respect to immigration -- and I think it is the only immigration position consistent with the principles of Objectivism (which is to say, with reason and reality) -- is: you may rightly stop people at the border for the same reasons (and only these) that you would rightly detain/fine/imprison, or generally respond with force, domestically. That is, when someone has themselves initiated the use of force (inclusive of threats, which I ought not otherwise need make explicit here, but will do so for clarity's sake).

I don't believe this is consistent with Objectivism. The role of government is "protecting [our] rights under an objective code of rules." It is not to respond with force against those who initiate it. That is merely one of the ways a government fulfills its role. But the primary way is creating objective rules that protect rights.

One rule we have is that the police can stop and question people, and if they find something suspicious, that person can be detained further and investigated. Why shouldn't this rule apply at the border? And further, why shouldn't we have more stringent rules for immigrants, whom we know little about and who might be coming from nations hostile to the United States?

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17 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

I don't believe this is consistent with Objectivism. The role of government is "protecting [our] rights under an objective code of rules." It is not to respond with force against those who initiate it. That is merely one of the ways a government fulfills its role. But the primary way is creating objective rules that protect rights.

All right. Let me say initially that I don't think there's any inherent conflict between "creating objective rules that protect rights" and "to respond with force against those who initiate it." In terms of "consistency with Objectivism" (which is one measure I'm happy to discuss, for obvious reasons; but the more important measure is accord with reason and reality), I believe that the purpose of government is to eliminate force from society -- via restricting the use of force to retaliation only. "Government" then is that body (or that aspect) charged with that task, and empowered to use retaliatory force -- again for the purpose of eliminating force from society.

Thus, this gives us the standard against which we can assess "objective rules that protect rights": those objective rules must be designed and deployed as retaliatory force against those who have initiated it. In fact, that is what it means "to protect rights."

Again, for the sake of testing "consistency with Objectivism," here is Rand (from "The Nature of Government"):

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If physical force is to be barred from social relationships, men need an institution charged with the task of protecting their rights under an objective code of rules.

This is the task of a government—of a proper government—its basic task, its only moral justification and the reason why men do need a government.

A government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of physical force under objective control—i.e., under objectively defined laws.

I think this lines up with what I've said? But to clarify, let's highlight a portion or two:

"If physical force is to be barred from social relationships" -- this provides us with our purpose. Our purpose is to bar physical force from social relationships. For instance, if a man in Tijuana wishes to patronize my store in San Diego, we wish to bar those who would use physical force to prevent that man from so doing.

And government is proposed as "the means" of doing this, of barring physical force from social relationships. But how can government accomplish this? Also through force, with this key distinction: government's use of force must be retaliatory. Otherwise, government is itself introducing physical force to social relationships.

And then, government cannot deploy its retaliatory physical force in any haphazard manner, but it must be "under objective control." So "objectively defined laws/rules" are important, but they must be directed towards the protection of rights and that means the use of retaliatory force against those who initiate it, and only those.

Thus, if "a government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of physical force under objective control," then yes, I believe "to respond with force against those who initiate it" is something like an accurate shorthand, though it could stand elaboration (though I would expect it to be uncontroversial enough on an Objectivist forum -- if not for the experiences I've already had on Objectivist fora ;)).

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One rule we have is that the police can stop and question people, and if they find something suspicious, that person can be detained further and investigated. Why shouldn't this rule apply at the border? And further, why shouldn't we have more stringent rules for immigrants, whom we know little about and who might be coming from nations hostile to the United States?

The just application of retaliatory force, in reality, requires some sort of procedure. For instance, in our retaliation, we must take steps to ensure that the individual against whom we mean to retaliate has actually initiated force; it would be a tragedy (and very often is, in fact) if we were to "retaliate" against the innocent.

This forms the broad justification for governmental/police powers of investigation -- it is the procedure required to apply retaliatory force with justice, against those who have initiated it, and only these. Just as the purpose of government informs our application (in terms of laws, etc.; i.e. that they must be geared to protect rights), so does our purpose of procedure inform our application of that procedure. We may rightly hold people for trial without knowing their innocence or guilt, because such a trial (or whatever our best current methodology allows) is necessary for the purpose of determining innocence or guilt, and thereafter applying retaliatory force with justice. Yet we must only do just that, and endeavor to hold such people only so long as absolutely necessary and warranted in reason.

I cannot make these kinds of decisions, because they are technical and wholly context dependent, requiring great expertise; I cannot necessarily tell you what's "too long" in a given case, apart from giving my layman's "sense" of it -- though I feel no less strongly in some cases for it. (For instance, we currently have prisoners at Guantanamo who are apparently being held indefinitely -- in some cases for... seventeen years? Wretched.) And this is the same sort of ground covered by police detaining, search and seizure, etc. We hold people for trial, yet it must be a "speedy trial"; we allow for search and seizure, but they must not be "unreasonable." Violations of these procedural rights and protections is equally as criminal as those initiations of force we otherwise mean to prevent. Indeed, they are the initiation of force.

The same holds for the border. It's fine to inspect those who intend to pass and to probe into their history, insofar as we are able, in reason, to determine whether they should be granted passage (either as a tourist or potential resident), and to bar those who are criminal, terrorist, diseased, etc., but our methodology at the border must be guided by the same rights-respecting considerations as the rest of our procedures. No more and no less than that.

As far as "more stringent rules for immigrants," it's important to know what specifically we have in mind, to respond appropriately -- but no, having some "belief in socialism," say, is not the initiation of force and does not warrant retaliatory force (e.g. being barred from traveling from Tijuana to San Diego to shop at my store... or buy a condominium). Taking action to subvert democracy and install a socialist dictatorship, however, might: equally on the streets of San Diego, Tijuana, or at the border.

Edited by DonAthos

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4 hours ago, DonAthos said:

"If physical force is to be barred from social relationships" -- this provides us with our purpose. Our purpose is to bar physical force from social relationships.

How is allowing socialists to take over the government fulfilling that purpose?

"Socialism is the doctrine that man has no right to exist for his own sake..." (FNI)

"The essential characteristic of socialism is the denial of individual property rights..." (VOS)

"There is no difference between the principles, policies and practical results of socialism--and those of any historical or prehistorical tyranny." (VOS)

I just plucked the first sentences from the first three Lexicon entries under "Socialism." If your purpose is to bar physical force from society, how do you justify letting more socialists into the country? I submit that you are giving aid to your country's political enemy. Given the extent to which America has turned socialist, I wonder if Rand would have agreed that socialists should be given visitor passes to your store, let alone free passes to citizenship. You're using the libertarian NAP to justify letting in sworn enemies of individual rights. Doesn't that strike you as absurd? Doesn't this scenario end with you digging your own grave and a socialist's gun at your back? At some point you have to recognize a national emergency and do what needs to be done to right the ship.

4 hours ago, DonAthos said:

As far as "more stringent rules for immigrants," it's important to know what specifically we have in mind, to respond appropriately -- but no, having some "belief in socialism," say, is not the initiation of force and does not warrant retaliatory force (e.g. being barred from traveling from Tijuana to San Diego to shop at my store... or buy a condominium). Taking action to subvert democracy and install a socialist dictatorship, however, might: equally on the streets of San Diego, Tijuana, or at the border.

I submit that advocating for socialism today is the initiation of physical force. The initiation here doesn't begin with passing a law against your rights. That is already several steps along in the process. The initiation of tyranny begins with a serious threat of tyranny. Just like the initiation of a robbery doesn't begin with taking your money, it begins with someone saying, "Give me your money or else!" Socialists essentially say, "Vote for us so we can rob those who have something we want!" And it's a very real threat, because there are already socialists in power doing exactly that.

Edited by MisterSwig

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5 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

How is allowing socialists to take over the government fulfilling that purpose?

This is a loaded question. "Allowing" isn't even an issue that's at stake. It's more or less whether the presence of a belief can ever constitute a threat to your life and property. Part of the whole reason we use non-initiation of force as a political principle is because that's the only thing that can actually be a threat to your life and property. 

The content of the socialists believe aren't very nice, definitely immoral, and if enacted, would usually be some violation of your rights. All you really said is that socialists can be scary. I'd just say stop worrying, they aren't as scary as you think. Now if they have guns, sure, worry. If a single law is a threat to you, then why are your beliefs so weak that you need a gun to defend them against nonviolence? It doesn't even make sense. Generally, response to threats should have proportionality as a matter of justice. 

I'm not even sure what Nicky's position even is. But like I've been saying to him, you need to demonstrate some threat beyond how scary somebody's ideas sound. 

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3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Part of the whole reason we use non-initiation of force as a political principle is because that's the only thing that can actually be a threat to your life and property. 

No. A government that turns into a dictatorship can actually be a threat too.

It's easy to say that the initiation of force is the only thing that threatens your rights. But that's an abstract idea. Start giving it some concrete reality, and you begin to realize that in a democracy other people's ideas can be a real threat. The rules that the people vote for begin as ideas in someone's mind. And anyone advocating for the violation of your rights is a threat to your rights, especially if that person is seeking political power.

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15 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

If your purpose is to bar physical force from society, how do you justify letting more socialists into the country? I submit that you are giving aid to your country's political enemy. 

 

15 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

I submit that advocating for socialism today is the initiation of physical force.

 

5 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

in a democracy other people's ideas can be a real threat. The rules that the people vote for begin as ideas in someone's mind. And anyone advocating for the violation of your rights is a threat to your rights,

Does this mean that if things are happening on college campuses that convert a lot of students to socialism, the government should move in and put a stop to it?

5 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

A government that turns into a dictatorship can actually be a threat too.

Yes, but advocating that the government turn into a dictatorship does not rise to the same level.

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15 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

How is allowing socialists to take over the government fulfilling that purpose?

I have nowhere advocated "allowing socialists to take over the government."

Quote

"Socialism is the doctrine that man has no right to exist for his own sake..." (FNI)

"The essential characteristic of socialism is the denial of individual property rights..." (VOS)

"There is no difference between the principles, policies and practical results of socialism--and those of any historical or prehistorical tyranny." (VOS)

Yes, no one here likes socialism.

Neither do I like the idea that someone may be subject to force on the basis of their "belief." Rather, I believe in retaliatory force. But belief (even belief in socialism) is not the initiation of the use of force.

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If your purpose is to bar physical force from society, how do you justify letting more socialists into the country?

Because socialists are human beings with individual rights. As an Objectivist, I believe in liberty, which here means that I only respond with force when force has been initiated by another. A socialist who has not initiated force against me has every right to live his life.

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Given the extent to which America has turned socialist, I wonder if Rand would have agreed that socialists should be given visitor passes to your store, let alone free passes to citizenship. You're using the libertarian NAP to justify letting in sworn enemies of individual rights. Doesn't that strike you as absurd?

I'm not "using the libertarian NAP"; I am referring to foundational Objectivist principles and quoting Ayn Rand to demonstrate that fact.

Also, immigration, or crossing a border generally, is not the same thing at all as "citizenship" (whatever that is held to entail). It is not the same as suffrage or being eligible to run for President or participation in governance, generally. It is possible to have different requirements for immigration versus "citizenship" (and in fact, the US does have different requirements currently).

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I submit that advocating for socialism today is the initiation of physical force.

This serves to highlight one of my central contentions: that immigration is a red herring. If advocating for socialism today is the initiation of force, then it doesn't matter whether we're discussing Mexico, the United States, or the border between them; if it is the initiation of the use of force, then it ought to be illegal and it ought to be met with retaliatory force, everywhere.

Further -- as sincere philosophical thought often requires drawing careful distinctions -- it must be noted that there is yet a difference between "believing in socialism" (or "being a socialist," generally) and advocating for it, in whatever form that advocacy might take.

But no, I cannot agree that advocating for socialism in the present-day United States (e.g. via conducting an essay contest on The Communist Manifesto, as a means of spreading those ideas) constitutes the initiation of physical force. Someone currently advocating for socialism must be dealt with by means of reason and persuasion, not violence.

6 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

It's easy to say that the initiation of force is the only thing that threatens your rights.

I don't know whether it was particularly "easy" for Rand (I suspect not, actually), but I do believe that's more-or-less precisely what she said (again, from "The Nature of Government"):

Quote

Man’s rights can be violated only by the use of physical force. It is only by means of physical force that one man can deprive another of his life, or enslave him, or rob him, or prevent him from pursuing his own goals, or compel him to act against his own rational judgment.

The precondition of a civilized society is the barring of physical force from social relationships—thus establishing the principle that if men wish to deal with one another, they may do so only by means of reason: by discussion, persuasion and voluntary, uncoerced agreement.

 

Quote

But that's an abstract idea.

It is, you're right. It's an abstract idea, a principle -- one of those principles that constitutes Objectivism, and fundamentally so, I would argue.

Quote

Start giving it some concrete reality, and you begin to realize that in a democracy other people's ideas can be a real threat.

This isn't true only in a democracy, it's true in all forms of government (and also beyond; irrationality is a threat, generally, and if people are ruled by irrational philosophy, they are potentially a grave danger -- so should we consider all forms of irrationality, or their advocacy, to be the initiation of the use of force?). This is why we mean to combat other peoples' bad ideas with our good ideas.

But part of that is acting in a manner consistent with our good idea that one may never initiate the use of force. The moment we start making exceptions, we have lost a lot more than whatever it is you believe we have gained.

Edited by DonAthos

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6 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

A government that turns into a dictatorship can actually be a threat too.

A dictatorship is a threat because it is a threat to your life and property through the use of force... 

6 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

Start giving it some concrete reality, and you begin to realize that in a democracy other people's ideas can be a real threat.

This is a fundamental disagreement with Objectivism. 

Of course people might develop ideas that would then push them towards initiating force, and in this sense ideas might be threatening. Yet we still wouldn't want to initiate the use of force at this stage because people can also change their mind, or might be cowards and not do anything, or don't know the implication of their ideas, or otherwise want to give people the opportunity to be free to change their ideas. We can respond to these threats through argumentation, persuasion, or anything else. In other words, there are different kinds of threats, and different kinds of responses to threats. Since ideas aren't violent threats, I don't see any justification to respond to them with violence.

I can put it this way. I think your idea about anti-American beliefs is itself anti-American. I think this is threatening to the stability of our country, and would necessarily lead to violence if enacted in the way you want. Should I be able to deny you access to the country? Should they be able to kick you out of the country?

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36 minutes ago, Doug Morris said:

Does this mean that if things are happening on college campuses that convert a lot of students to socialism, the government should move in and put a stop to it?

It depends on what is actually happening. Context still matters. I'm mostly concerned about socialist activists and politicians. I wouldn't be opposed to some kind of law against them. Perhaps removing them from political office or revoking their citizenship would be enough. I don't know what it'll take to restore or protect our rights. Perhaps it's too late. The socialists already have too much power.

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1 hour ago, DonAthos said:

...socialists are human beings with individual rights. 

No, socialists are human beings who deny and violate individual rights. Rights are not intrinsically held. You gain or lose them through your own actions, just like other values. And advocating for socialism is an action, just like demanding someone's wallet is an action. I consider both to be threats against my property. Both are therefore the initiation of force.

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1 hour ago, MisterSwig said:

No, socialists are human beings who deny and violate individual rights. Rights are not intrinsically held. You gain or lose them through your own actions, just like other values. And advocating for socialism is an action, just like demanding someone's wallet is an action. I consider both to be threats against my property. Both are therefore the initiation of force.

I would take greater pains to disagree with you on this point, but it would mean to delve into the nature of a "threat" and why, for instance, the police would (rightly) take action to defend your property against a burglar who has drawn up plans on breaking into your home, and set a date for it in his calendar, but not some political theorist arguing that such things as burglary ought be permissible, or that private property is immoral, or that A does not in fact equal A. Of course, we can see the underlying philosophical connection between all of these things -- and that connection is both real and meaningful -- yet they are not the same, and cannot be treated the same, in the name of justice. One is the initiation of force (yet still a "threat"; no violence has occurred) and the others are not.

Apart from this gesture towards the ensuing argument we might have had, I'm exhausted (which I find happens faster and faster for me, more and more often), so I'll leave it here. Yet can we at least agree at this point that you are at odds with Objectivism (or at least as Ayn Rand understood it)? It is fine to disagree with Rand and/or Objectivism (as I myself sometimes do), but in the event we should endeavor to recognize it.

For your consideration:

Speaking on pornography in "Censorship: Local and Express":

Quote

The issue is freedom of speech and of the press—i.e., the right to hold any view and to express it.

Do you note how the word "any" is italicized. That's not my addition; it's in the original. Why do you suppose she emphasized "any"? What does she mean by it? She was talking about a different topic, granted, but then (from The Objectivist Calendar, 6/78):

Quote

The communists and the Nazis are merely two variants of the same evil notion: collectivism. But both should be free to speak—evil ideas are dangerous only by default of men advocating better ideas.

Now perhaps you have a notion that things today are worse than ever -- worse than Rand could possibly have imagined -- as you'd perhaps suggested when you wrote, "At some point you have to recognize a national emergency and do what needs to be done to right the ship." But it's worth remembering that Rand lived through the rise of Nazism and World War II, (relatively) powerful American Nazi and Communist Parties, the domestic chaos of the 1960s, and so on, not to mention the fact that she herself survived and escaped the Russian Revolution.

If she had concluded that men should not be free to advocate for evil ideas, on the basis of all she had personally experienced and witnessed, I would have sympathy and understanding for her position, yet I would continue to disagree with it. But Rand, happily, was better than that, and more consistent in applying her core ideology, writing (in "The Cashing-In: The Student 'Rebellion'"):

Quote

The difference between an exchange of ideas and an exchange of blows is self-evident. The line of demarcation between freedom of speech and freedom of action is established by the ban on the initiation of physical force.

Lest you believe that Rand was "using the libertarian NAP" to "dig her own grave," as you have accused me of doing when I've quoted her elsewhere, I should stress that she was rather explicating her philosophy of Objectivism, wherein we recognize reality and then treat things as they are. The difference she is pointing to, between "an exchange of ideas and an exchange of blows," is both real and meaningful. Yet that is the very thing you suggest we ignore, or pretend were not so: in this context, for the sake of denying the rights of immigrants... and eventually, everyone else.

And speaking of "context," many people here would do well to better examine the real world context of restrictions against immigration, including the motivations of several current proponents and historical episodes, and their actual, real-world consequences. These sorts of suggestions are never received well; they are always taken as some sort of personal accusation, but I do not mean to accuse anyone of anything (save one or two exceptions, I don't care about anyone in this forum sufficiently to fret about their underlying character, for better or worse). Yet it seems to me that many arguments are made in relative ignorance of the actual context surrounding these matters; matters which are truly life and death for some.

Edited by DonAthos

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3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Of course people might develop ideas that would then push them towards initiating force, and in this sense ideas might be threatening. Yet we still wouldn't want to initiate the use of force at this stage because people can also change their mind, or might be cowards and not do anything, or don't know the implication of their ideas, or otherwise want to give people the opportunity to be free to change their ideas.

This is a perfect argument for tolerating evil. Suppose someone says, "I've got an idea that I might rape your wife if you don't give me your wallet." Ah, well, you shouldn't initiate force against this person simply for having an idea you might not like. After all, he might "change his mind" or "lose the courage" to rape your wife. Don't worry. His words aren't a threat until they "push him towards initiating force." Wait until he initiates the initiation of force. Then you can retaliate. In the meantime, you should probably hand over the wallet to prevent his idea from pushing him towards violence.

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2 hours ago, DonAthos said:

Yet can we at least agree at this point that you are at odds with Objectivism (or at least as Ayn Rand understood it)?

No. I believe I'm applying her philosophy consistently. You bring up free speech, but I'm not arguing against free speech. A socialist has the right to talk. But he doesn't have the right to issue a threat against my property. So, you're right, we would have to debate the nature of threats. Which I'm happy to do if you can summon the will.You also bring up Rand's view on pornography. Note that in Thought Control she writes:

Quote
Quote

 

Only one aspect of sex is a legitimate field for legislation: the protection of minors and of unconsenting adults. Apart from criminal actions (such as rape), this aspect includes the need to protect people from being confronted with sights they regard as loathsome. (A corollary of the freedom to see and hear, is the freedom not to look or listen.) Legal restraints on certain types of public displays, such as posters or window displays, are proper--but this is an issue of procedure, of etiquette, not of morality.

No one has the right to do whatever he pleases on a public street (nor would he have such a right on a privately owned street). The police power to maintain order among pedestrians or to control traffic is a procedural, not a substantive, power. A traffic policeman enforces rules of how to drive (in order to avoid clashes or collisions), but cannot tell you where to go. Similarly, the rights of those who seek pornography would not be infringed by rules protecting the rights of those who find pornography offensive--e.g., sexually explicit posters may properly be forbidden in public places; warning signs, such as "For Adults Only," may properly be required of private places which are open to the public. This protects the unconsenting, and has nothing to do with censorship, i.e., with prohibiting thought or speech.

 

 

Now, just replace pornography with Nazism or socialism, and you have a perfect application of Rand's principle of protecting people from seeing or hearing things that they find loathsome. According to her philosophy, it is entirely justified for a society to establish rules for public procedure or etiquette. If we want to keep socialists from advocating in public places, we have that right.

Edited by MisterSwig

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2 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

This is a perfect argument for tolerating evil. 

I never mentioned tolerating evil. I keep telling you repeatedly that I would fight by means of argumentation and discussion and any other kind of verbal combat. In the example you gave, the threat is not the words necessarily, but his ability to enact them. It's not that he has to pass a law, and then another law, and then another law, over the course of 50 years, to accomplish what he threatened you with. The timescale matters here. If you eliminate timescale, then you equate actions with beliefs, and then you are well on your way to supporting thoughtcrimes. After all, if beliefs had the same power as actions, having thoughts could be as criminal as any action.

Basically, I'm saying nonviolent measures are sufficient to fight the early stages of socialism. 

So I return to my question: should I be able to kick you out of the country for your beliefs? I'm not saying it as just a thought experiment, I'm saying I really do believe if your ideas are enacted, this would be very threatening and very bad. You'd probably disagree that your view is anti-American, but would agree in principle that I could kick you out for your beliefs. You specifically.

As a secondary question, when it comes to evil, do you think it is possible to fight nonviolent evil through nonviolent good? 
 

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4 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

And advocating for socialism is an action, just like demanding someone's wallet is an action. I consider both to be threats against my property.

Just to point out, you were talking about anti-American belief, not those who advocate for the initiation of force. You haven't just been talking about those who advocate for socialism, but also those who believe in socialism without necessarily advocating (e.g., making public speeches) for socialism. It seems to me that you're kind of losing track of the nuances you've been trying to express.

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25 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

In the example you gave, the threat is not the words necessarily, but his ability to enact them. It's not that he has to pass a law, and then another law, and then another law, over the course of 50 years, to accomplish what he threatened you with. The timescale matters here. If you eliminate timescale, then you equate actions with beliefs, and then you are well on your way to supporting thoughtcrimes. After all, if beliefs had the same power as actions, having thoughts could be as criminal as any action.

I'm pretty sure I agree with all that, except that in my example we are already suffering under socialist laws, so any outspoken socialists, particularly activists and politicians, constitute an ongoing threat to my property. They actually represent the political force presently engaged in violating my rights via the legal system.

33 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Basically, I'm saying nonviolent measures are sufficient to fight the early stages of socialism.

We aren't in the early stages. We're in the later stages. And I'm not calling for violent measures, unless you think revoking someone's citizenship, denying them a public soapbox, or not letting them into the country is violence.

41 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

So I return to my question: should I be able to kick you out of the country for your beliefs?

Not you personally. But the government could kick me out for my beliefs.

49 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

As a secondary question, when it comes to evil, do you think it is possible to fight nonviolent evil through nonviolent good? 

Of course. Don't associate with it. Don't apologize for it. Don't tolerate it. And certainly don't give it support or sanctuary.

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12 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

denying them a public soapbox, or not letting them into the country is violence.

If the government does the first one, it would be violence because it would be backed up by the use of force. Having a soapbox is actually freedom of speech, with some constraints if lack of consent can constitute some kind of harm. But hearing a socialist talk isn't a type of harm, and walking by it doesn't really constitute nonconsent. Pornography is a different type of thing entirely, and traffic laws are procedural, so doesn't really relate to speech.

Not letting someone into a country is a type of violence, because you forcibly deny them access. That's how laws work. That's how governments work, it's fundamentally about the use of violence and force.

24 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

They actually represent the political force presently engaged in violating my rights via the legal system.

Fine, this would mean the government is illegitimate. In cases of illegitimate government, I agree with you. But what you would do with an illegitimate government isn't necessarily what you would do with a legitimate government. Socialists in a socialist country are different kind of threat than socialists in a free country. 

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53 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Just to point out, you were talking about anti-American belief, not those who advocate for the initiation of force. You haven't just been talking about those who advocate for socialism, but also those who believe in socialism without necessarily advocating (e.g., making public speeches) for socialism. It seems to me that you're kind of losing track of the nuances you've been trying to express.

An immigrant who's never been here obviously hasn't made speeches here. So we might need to question him to screen for anti-American beliefs. There would need to be some guidelines for determining which beliefs constitute an objective threat to America. But if we were to ban public advocacy of socialism, then that might not even be a belief that disqualifies foreigners from entering the nation, as long as they agree to obey the law.

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On 1/24/2019 at 1:43 AM, Eiuol said:

I wasn't talking about large-scale migrations. I was talking about large-scale migrations explicitly connected to the spread of an ideology that would possibly lead to violence. The only nonviolent version of that I can come up with is if a foreign government were involved. If there is not a foreign government involved, there would be significant markers of potential violence, like stockpiling arms.

I'm claiming that those Nazis aren't actually a threat, but you are. I don't know any historical examples, so that's why I think it's fantastical. If anything, I'm saying that any actions that might need to be taken can be taken when someone commits a crime.

You've kept insisting that these Nazis would be a threat to my life right at that moment (if I were a citizen of New Zealand). I'm not convinced. The most they could do is talk in very vague statements, which is a bad way to motivate people to do anything.

Would you just use a real-life example, instead of the one you imagined? If it is a realistic scenario, then we don't need to talk about an imagined one.

The reason why there are no historical examples is because no society in the history of mankind has ever done something as foolish as what you are in favor of: opening the borders to a throng of people fundamentally opposed to their political values. That's the "fantastical" part in this: the notion that any country would ever do what you're suggesting: fail to stop a mass migration of totalitarian thugs, in the name of "freedom".

But the two components of my scenario happened many times, separately: there have been many large scale migrations, and there have been many instances of a totalitarian ideology supported by a large minority taking over. So it should be very clear to anyone not willfully obtuse that, if a society were dumb enough to allow it, those two things could happen in the same place, at the same time. There's nothing preventing that besides national borders.  The notion that New Zealand authorities could deal with five million Nazis once they're in the country is childish.

And the scenario does happen in the absence of a government...most recently, this is exactly what happened in Syria/Iraq. Islamists from across the world flooded in, took over large chunks of both countries, and proceeded to terrorize the population with horrific efficacy.

Only difference here is that you're proposing the same thing should be allowed when the prospective victims actually DO have a strong government, that possesses the means to stop it...before they come in, of course. Once they're in, it's too late.

Edited by Nicky

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On 1/23/2019 at 11:52 PM, DonAthos said:

But the scenario you'd proposed consists not merely of beliefs, but activities -- purported to kill Eiuol/Objectivists within a year. Those activities -- the activities necessary to overthrow a rights-respecting government and install a dictatorship -- ought to be illegal (and what you've described might be construed as a kind of criminal conspiracy).

I already explained that it's not a criminal conspiracy to believe in Nazi ideology, under US law.

As for Eiuol's execution, I'm not saying that he would be executed in a year because anyone is planning his execution, as they are entering the country. In fact, I assure you, no such plan exists at the time the migration is taking place. In fact, no one has ANY specific plans to kill anyone. They only have a general, abstract belief that everyone who opposes the cause deserves death. Which is protected speech under the US Constitution. There are people in the US right now, saying stuff like that. Not just Nazis, extremists both on the Right and Left (about cops, capitalists, Jews, etc.). And it's their right.

So stop putting words in my mouth. What I am stating is the obvious: Eiuol's arrest and execution for crimes against the state would be a natural consequence of the majority of his compatriots being Nazis. That's all. There's no conspiracy, at the time all these Nazis are entering the country. In fact, most of them don't even know each other, they're just coming because the news is spreading that this is the place to be.

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15 minutes ago, Nicky said:

That's the "fantastical" part in this: the notion that any country would ever do what you're suggesting: fail to stop a mass migration of totalitarian thugs, in the name of "freedom".

If they really are totalitarian thugs, then they would fit all the other criteria that I mentioned. You've assumed that you could have totalitarian thugs that are nonviolent and could become a threat. I'm saying that a totalitarian thug is necessarily going to show threatening signs like violence, or do things like stockpile arms, or explicitly call for the extermination of a race. You've already told me that they wouldn't speak in explicit terms, they are being nonviolent, and they have no plan. If you'd call that a threat, I'd call that paranoia. 

28 minutes ago, Nicky said:

there have been many large scale migrations

For purposes of a better life and adopting many of the customs of the destination country.

29 minutes ago, Nicky said:

there have been many instances of a totalitarian ideology supported by a large minority taking over.

Only by means of using violence early on and throughout their rise to power.

So I find the combination of the two fantastical, because the motivations are contradictory. I'd say there is no historical example because no totalitarian would be stupid enough to try to enact their beliefs through persuasion. Well, maybe Lenin was that stupid, actually, very early on. Except Stalin was an even bigger totalitarian, was violent from the beginning, and probably had Lenin killed. (By the way, saying no one would ever be that stupid is almost always false. You can almost always find an example of somebody being that stupid.)

The better question is, can totalitarians be nonviolent? I don't think so. But then you might say, if totalitarians are necessarily violent, then shouldn't we prevent their migration? Absolutely! My point is there will always be signs of violence, so we don't even need to get into a discussion about whether someone's beliefs really are totalitarian. It's enough to look for all the usual signs of threats and violence.

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20 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

Now, just replace pornography with Nazism or socialism, and you have a perfect application of Rand's principle of protecting people from seeing or hearing things that they find loathsome. According to her philosophy, it is entirely justified for a society to establish rules for public procedure or etiquette. If we want to keep socialists from advocating in public places, we have that right.

Does this mean that any idea or system that a significant number of people find loathsome, which would include Objectivism, should be barred from public display or public advocacy?

If the government starts actually imposing the kind of restrictions you're advocating, I think Objectivists will be on the receiving end more than socialists will.

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1 hour ago, Doug Morris said:

Does this mean that any idea or system that a significant number of people find loathsome, which would include Objectivism, should be barred from public display or public advocacy?

No. It means that people have the right to ban it, not necessarily that they should. This is why people are always debating what should be allowed in public places. If Objectivism gets banned, then we'll have to stop marching through the streets and only speak where we're invited.

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Mr. Swig,

What if a law is passed preventing non-citizen Objectivists from entering the country?

What if a lot of people in some other country such as India become Objectivists, enough of them come here to get noticed, and some people get panicky about it?

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32 minutes ago, Doug Morris said:

What if a law is passed preventing non-citizen Objectivists from entering the country?

What if a lot of people in some other country such as India become Objectivists, enough of them come here to get noticed, and some people get panicky about it?

It would take more than "some people getting panicky" to pass a law against Objectivist immigrants. It would have to be at least 50% or more of Congress, right? Seems unlikely that would happen, since we are pro-individual rights, unlike socialists. But let's say it does happen. Maybe they use our advocacy for egoism as justification. Or maybe the radical socialists dominate Congress and keep out radical capitalists.  I would then seek representatives who would fight to overturn that law or I might move out of the country. In your scenario India sounds pretty good.

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